With New York having received both the landmark High Line, built from a freight rail, and in talks to get an underground Low Line, what about something in between that uses another underutilized aspect of the street infrastructure? The concept of the Underline in Miami, which was conceived in 2013 by Meg Daly, is based around the 10 miles of dark and cool but underutilized space under the elevated MetroRail.
The Underline hopes to not only beautify this space but improve pedestrian and bicycle safety in the shade of the concrete rail structure.
Daly first became acquainted with the space when she broke both her arms and thus couldn't bike or drive to her physical therapy sessions. She would take the MetroRail to the Coconut Grove station and walk under the tracks to her final destination, and this was when she noticed that despite the space being well sheltered from the sun in the middle of July, there was virtually no one walking under it. That was when she realized the space could become an "enhanced urban trail" as well as a linear park. An online survey is helping Daly's team plan possible uses.
The University of Miami School of Architecture has offered planning resources, including pro bono student work in Spring 2014 and 2015, to the initiative. Many of the renderings developed by students emphasize the usefulness of the Underline instead of its final foliage and appearance; for example, Bird Road might feature a protected cycling area, while Vizcaya would be transformed from an area barely covered with lawn to a true jogging and exercise path. Out of 19 applicants, James Corner Field Operations has been selected as the master plan design team, and they will use the more in-depth student work to help launch their initiative.
The Underline will be the "spine" of a planned network of bike-friendly infrastructure in the Miami-Dade area. Though projects of a similar scope have taken around a decade to complete (New York's High Line, by comparison, is only 1.45 miles long), interested parties can donate to the 501(c)(3) to speed up the process of planning and building the Underline, joining several illustrious partner foundations.